The Book of Daniel is a work based on the trial and execution of the Rosenbergs in the historical context of McCarthyism in the USA. The book makes a portrait of the "red-scare" and the American hysteria. However, Doctorow does not do it from a social perspective, at least strait forwardly, but from the individual one. The story is told from the perspective of Daniel (the son of the Isaacsons and the brother of Susan) who is now attending college during the historical moment of the radical upheaval of the 1960s in the US. .
The construction of the character Daniel in itself is one of the most interesting features in this book, since he shows an outstanding intelligence, although he is also permeated by many internal conflicts and all throughout the narrative he shows a high degree of confusion within his mind - maybe this explains the constant flashbacks in the book, besides a lack of linearity as the plot develops. His perspective, as we can infer from the way the narrative flows, is not individualistic, but multiple. Sometimes we see Daniel as a first person narrator, while at some other moments in the book he turns into a third person narrator, and appears to take an outsider point of view as he talks about himself and the people and facts that surround him. This last issue makes an impression of neutrality in the narrative that is, again, only apparent, since as we know language is neither transparent nor neutral and the character uses language even when he wants to appear as an outsider. The reader only has Daniel's perspective. Even the encyclopedic definitions that the reader is pretended to accept, which are also important devices used by Doctorow, are chosen by the character.
The way the writer uses language is also very interesting. Doctorow makes use of a kind of provocative language put together with an unusual narrative structure that reflects in itself the fragmentation of the socio-political moments the story refers to.